Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Challenge to Obey and Encourage Obedience

Today has been quite an interesting day. In fact, I haven't had a day like this in quite a while. A day that has both challenged me and given me much to think about.

I had to go to Dallas for work, so I boarded a plane in Little Rock this afternoon and was on my way. The thought provoking moments began as soon as I hit the airport terminal, but those aren't the stories I want to tell today.

I flew on Southwest Airlines. If you have ever flown Southwest, you know that there are no assigned seats. They assign you a boarding order based on when you check-in for your flight. The first ones on the plane get the first choice of where to sit.

I was excited to see when I checked-in the day before online that I was in boarding group A and was 13th to board. I thought, "oh good, I can get a good seat". Well, we boarded the plane to find out that this flight was a connecting flight and was already VERY full when we boarded. I ended up going almost all the way to the back of the plane but I at least found an aisle seat.

There was a lady sitting next to the window on the row I sat on and that left a middle seat empty. As the flight attendants came over the speaker they told those still trying to board that only middle seats were left so please just take a seat in one of those. Two ladies who were flying together were trying to sit close to each other. One of them asked me if I would move to the middle seat (her friend was sitting across the aisle). Because just the idea of confrontation, especially with strangers makes me anxious, I obliged and moved to the middle seat.

The lady sitting next to the window leaned over and said, "that was very kind of you, but you didn't have to do that". I smiled, and said, "oh, it's ok". That started a conversation and I really enjoyed talking with this lady on the flight. Turns out, she was a flight attendant for Southwest and was returning to Dallas after working the last three days. I was delighted when she spoke of going to church in the morning and of listening to K-Love while she traveled. 

At the end of the flight as we were descending, the lady sitting in the aisle's phone rang. She pulled her phone out of her purse to see who was calling. Here is the conversation that followed between the off duty flight attendant sitting by the window and the lady sitting in the aisle.
  • Window Seat: "ma'am, your phone should be on flight mode or turned off". 
  • Aisle Seat: "really"? 
  • Window Seat: "yes, you should have put it on flight mode when we took off in Little Rock". 
  • Aisle Seat: (gave a dirty look and slid her phone back in her purse) "well, thank you". 
The lady in the window seat leaned over and said to me, "I guess it doesn't matter that she could cause the plane to crash, I guess she doesn't care about that". She proceeded to tell me that if she was working the flight, she would have done more, but that since she wasn't, she wouldn't make a scene.

This got me thinking. How many times do we live life like that? How many times do we do one of the following:
  1. Know what we are supposed to do, but don't do it. Know what God has asked us to do but we don't do it.
  2. When corrected, ignore the correction that is being given. When God reminds us what He has asked us to do, we ignore it or just straight up say "no".
  3. Look on someone else doing something that we know could hurt them and the people around them, but because we don't want to cause a scene, we don't do all that much about it.
Obviously, because I'm sitting here writing this post, the plane landed safely, but what if it hadn't? Had her phone caused any problems with the safe landing of that flight, it would have been due to the things above, her disobedience AND the off duty flight attendant not wanting to cause a scene.

Here is how this all challenged me, and my challenge to you. The next time you feel like your falling from the sky and your about to crash, take a good look at where you have been. Ask yourself if you have done anything in disobedience. Look to God to see what you need to do to make it right. And then be willing to obey what He tells you.

Also, if you are near people who are disobeying God and living life in a way that is detrimental to themselves and others, you have a responsibility to confront them in love. You won't always get results, but as followers of Christ, I don't think we can sit back and keep quiet when those around us are falling and crashing. Their wrong choices are not our burdens to carry (we can't live their life for them), but that doesn't mean that we should sit back and watch them crash without trying to help them.

Obedience isn't about what you can't do, it's about doing what God asks us to out of love to Him.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments." John 14:15

Obedience is an act of Love toward God. Encouraging obedience is an act of love toward each other.


  1. I am very guilty of #3. I am so scared to ruffle feathers, but I need to pray for guidance in approaching situations in love and take action...

    1. Me too Ashley! I don't like confrontation but even through other events in my life, this has been on my heart lately. There are so many people that need to hear the truth in love (and that definitely takes prayer and guidance from The Lord)!